about Roads to Berry Exhibition
In 1947 Australian painter Lloyd Rees made a small painting of the road leading from the townships of Gerringong to Berry on the NSW south coast. He was a well-established artist with a classical training and background who had been holidaying with his family at Werri Beach near Gerringong since 1940. He produced a series of paintings and drawing of the landscape in that area.
His Road to Berry painting was for Rees a radical work that exaggerated the hills and the twists and turns of the Princes Highway as it wound its way south through the lush green pastures of this dairy farming region of our coast. It was stripped down to a minimum design. The lush greens were gone. The hills were given more volume and the curves were exaggerated. Trees and houses were all but removed and the whole thing was given a reductionist, minimalist, Modernist treatment.
This painting has been very influential with many Australian artists, particularly Brett Whiteley and John Olson. In 1985, years after Whitley had produced many landscapes with the sexualised curves that were influenced by the more formalist Rees work, he made a copy of the Road to Berry and presented it to Rees who he greatly admired as homage to the older artist in 1985.
My works are also a homage to Rees. They are painted in my own way and also refer to the work of other artists who I admire – Australian painter Elioth Gruner and American painters Robert Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud. Some of these works are made as plein air paintings and others are produced in the relative comfort of my studio in the Blue Mountains.
More than anything, this show is a homage to the beauty of the NSW south coast between Kiama and Berry.